International court to announce findings in Chile, Bolivia sea dispute

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The International Court of Justice will announce its decision next month in a dispute between Chile and Bolivia about access to the Pacific Ocean, the Chilean government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Hague will hold a hearing on Oct. 1 to announce its findings in the Bolivian lawsuit filed in 2013 that seeks to force Chile to negotiate an exit for Bolivia to the sea.

Bolivia lost its access to the sea after a war with Chile in the 19th century, leading to Chile annexing Bolivia’s coastline and leaving the latter landlocked.

Bolivia, in the dispute, argued that Chile had not kept diplomatic promises and obligations it made under international law to negotiate sea access, namely a land corridor and port under its control.

“The court must invoke a dialogue and a good faith negotiation on all the issues offered by Chile for almost a century,” Bolivian President Evo Morales said in a televised statement from the city of Cochabamba on Wednesday.

Chile had argued in The Hague it had no obligation to negotiate access for Bolivia to the Pacific Ocean, saying the matter had been settled by a peace treaty more than a decade ago.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera maintained on Wednesday that the issue of the border had been resolved “clearly and categorically” in the peace treaty. He made the comments at a public appearance to announce the expansion of Google’s data center in Quilicura.

(This story corrects first line to International Court of Justice, not International Criminal Court)

Reporting by Antonio De La Jara, Danny Ramos and Aislinn Laing; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Bernadette Baum